Tag Archives: No deal

Hutton dogma

Journalist Will Hutton has a distinguished career, but in common with many journalists, communication with others is unidirectional. They write, they speak, they opine, and occasionally they debate. What they seemingly don’t have a lot experience with is negotiating.

Hutton was pontificating on the various interchanges with the EU in relation to final pattern of Brexit (a misnomer – we have left the EU and it’s over). He was highly critical of some form of agreement which approached anything like ‘no deal’, and lambasted David Frost and others for not concluding an agreement.

But no deal means, no deal. There are two parties and one of those parties cannot unilaterally effect a ‘deal’. No deal simply that means they can’t find common ground within their negotiating parameters. If all frameworks proposed violate the bottom lines of one or both parties, there can be no agreement.

Hutton, and most remainers don’t understand this simple business truth. You can always “agree” by capitulation. So If the EU said “you can have just 1% of fish from British waters or no deal – our final position” . Where is the negotiation? It’s not a failure of the negotiators if there is no agreement because the parties cannot agree within their solution constraints. Hutton would of course say “take it” ? The only logical outcome of Hutton’s approach – no deal is not acceptable – is that we accept whatever the EU decide if we want a deal. Negotiating principle 101 is broken – the determination to walk away from the table if real (as opposed to ‘ploy’) red lines are breached by some proposed agreement. Every negotiator needs a “walk away” scenario.

Whatever is decided with the EU now will have a generational effect on the UK. Do we in essence cede sovereignty to to the EU or not ? Do we have the some responsibilities of sovereign government delegated to France or Germany? Should disputes be resolved by a foreign court in which we have no participation? these are the stark choices for the UK.

The whole essence of negotiation is to have a bottom line – an “or else”. David Frost knows that if there no overlapping set of positions it’s their deal or no deal. NO businessman or government would or should accept that, and neither should UK Limited.

A short reign

It rather looks like it’s 1649 again at the Palace of Westminster, and a blonde head is about to roll in a few days or weeks time. The parallels with that time are rather interesting. In seeking to try Charles I, parliament declared itself being able to legislate alone, as has just happened. The charge against the King was that of treason against the good of the country by ac ting to further his own personal interests, which has also been the mantra of the 21 rebels and others.

And so, the events of January 30th 1649 seem about to unfold again, albeit metaphorically. Thoughts of those days were triggered by Grumpy wondering who will be taking the role of Oliver Cromwell in this story. [ As an aside, the painting by Paul Delaroche (most known in the UK perhaps for the evocative depiction of the “Execution and Lady Jane Grey” in the National Gallery) entitled “Cromwell and the corpse of Charles I”, 1831, shows Cromwell as having to Grumpy’s eye an uncanny likeness to one John Bercow.]

It will not, of course, be the revered speaker. However, having spent the last few days castigating BoJo for setting aside the constitution and tradition, the various players will seek to do just that in selecting his predecessor. The convention for appointing a PM when the incumbent has lost a majority is that the role is taken by the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition; but the ‘no Brexit full stop’ rebels, having used the Labour Party as usefull idiots to remove Boris cannot now countenance letting loose Corbyn/Macdonnell to wreck the country even more comprehensively than the worse of their Project fear Brexit projections.

Interesting times.

BoJo strikes !

Copyright Getty

Well, BoJo has played his hand to defeat the forces seeking to revoke Article 50. The final outcome is now very uncertain, but voices screaming ‘undemocratic’ and ‘unprecedented’ seem to have lost their memory of key events over the history of the sorry Brexit saga.

Reminder: BoJo is PM because due process was followed in replacing Theresa May, and he was elected via a majority of Conservative MP’s and a majority of Party members. This is exactly the same process which brought May, Blair, Brown etc into office. That many of those who put him into office are now whinging seems odd.

Further, none of those MP’s or party members can suggest that they did not know what BoJo was about. From the outset of his PM campaign he made it clear that ‘do or die’ he would leave on 31st October ‘with or without a deal’; that’s pretty clear. Compare and contrast this clear message with the vacillation, U turns, opaqueness and duplicity of those opposed to Brexit.

Jo Swinson (see http://grumpy.eastover.org.uk/jo-swinson-is-a-confused-hypocritical-flip-flop/ ) as one of the prime drivers behind ‘stop Boris’ has always been clear about her goal – to stop Brexit at all at any cost and revoke Article 50. Given that totally undemocratic goal in face of the referendum, it is particularly hypocritical that she should be leading the shouts of ‘foul’ given her own (and that of her aligned partners) duplicity in seeking to frustrate the real democratic mandate to leave.

Clearly, there are hugely influential voices opposed to this, such as Grieve and Hammond; but they are surrounded by has-beens such as Anna Soubry, who having made a wrong call on her future, is now deservedly inconsequential. She however still seeks to deny the process that put BoJo in power was legitimate, but her most irritating line is the ‘people didn’t vote for’ no deal in the referendum. It’s the sheer mind-numbing arrogance of her claim to know what the populace – all 17+m of them – voted for which sets her out as an unthinking intellectual pygmy. Hammond, despite his probably superior knowledge of the likely after effects of no deal, nevertheless sat in his seat in a cabinet in which his boss had set her stall out by repeatedly saying ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ and took the tax payers shilling and kept the ministerial car.

Well, MP”s – including most of the (re)moaners voted down (with an historic majority) the only possible deal the EU would countenance as being the very definition of a bad deal. Bojo is merely fulfilling May’s strategy and implementing ‘no deal’. Time to do it.

Jo Swinson is a confused, hypocritical, ‘flip-flop’

On yer bike, Corbyn

Jo Swinson, newly elected Lib Dem leader recently underwent an embarrassing ‘flip-flop’ by first announcing (conceptually, a least) that she’d rather have a three-some with John Bercow and Jacob Rees-Mogg than be associated with Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to take over as PM if / when BoJo loses the upcoming vote of no confidence, and within a few hours then offering to consort with said labour leader at his convenience. Not decisive, Jo.

However, the point of this note is however, to record her (not uncommon) dishonest and hypocritical stance on Brexit, and the transparent nature of her weasel words on the next actions.

Swinson pays lip service to democratic participation (after all, she’s leader of the lib Dems) but she is wholly intent on subverting the democratic process. The referendum was clear that the populace voted to leave the EU, and her goal is to prevent that from happening regardless of that vote or (importantly) the nature of any deal. Consider Swinson’s own words, reiterated in the recent leadership competition “We {Lib Dems} believe the UK’s best future is as members of the European Union, and that’s why, as your leader, I will do whatever it takes to stop Brexit”

It’s clear. Its not about stopping no deal, or using the EU ploy of asking the populace to think again. It doesn’t matter how they might vote, she will – read it again – “do whatever it takes to stop Brexit” . She is a committed European federalist and believes in ever closer integration (see their web site)

To obscure the pro-federal and anti-democratic goals of the party, she uses words which are sheer sophistry, which are also without any rational framework. The second referendum ploy will (as it is with Dominic Grieve) be binding if it goes to ‘remain’ and ‘advisory’ if anything else – one assumes her version of any new vote will not include ‘no-deal’ as an option (‘whatever it takes to stop it’, remember?

The Liberals were almost extinct in the early 1930’s, and in spite of their 1989 revamp and subsequent merger with the Social Democrats, have had no real electoral significance for more than 85 years, apart from the brief spell in the Cameron Coalition. (A rather rather shameful example of the lust for power over core principles by Nick Clegg ). This episode demonstrated the fallibility of consensus when strong leadership is required. Ms Swinson, by rejecting any overtures from Jeremy (and certainly from BoJo) , will no doubt consign the party to being an irrelevance in the future.

Threats don’t work

Mrs May has now resorted to threats to ministers,  fellow MP’s, business and the populace in general to coerce them into accepting her shabby capitulation to Brussels.

In summary, it distils down to “my way or no way” or  “my way, or else…”. By the time these utterances are made, the politician in  question (and in such circumstances it is normally just one lonely person exercising their rapidly diminishing formal powers) is desperate, inward-looking, and unable employ the objectivity the situation demands. And so it is with Theresa, and her colleagues must make this situation plain to her  by submitting their letters to Graham Brady.

On a wider note, Grumpy is programmed to react to a threats of such a nature from politicians by

  • dismissing any validity to their argument  entirely, since they were unable  to persuade by a rational, balanced reasoning without threats
  • never again to vote for a party which resorts to such bankrupt tactics.

It is hard to envisage that, come the next general election, voters will tick the conservative box, as it still will be a bitter and divided organisation at that time. Two people bear the blame; David Cameron for calling for the referendum in the first place, and Theresa May for failing to have the courage to spell out at the outset the obvious  implications of her contradictory red lines, and resorting to sleight of hand, obfuscation and double dealing  to hide this, with the result that we now have.